What does your About me say about you? 1

I saw a blog post by Catherine Translates last week which was basically a short list of articles on things to keep in mind while preparing your website. The articles are useful, check them out.

One of the articles in particular, on writing a good About me/About us page, caught my eye, and got me thinking about an area of the ProZ.com profile which can represent a sort of “white bull” for the translator establishing or maintaining an online presence, the “About me” section. Most other fields in your profile are “easier” to fill out, since you know which services you provide, the languages you work in, the projects you’ve completed, etc. But what should go in the “About me” section? Here are some points to keep in mind when crafting or updating yours:

  • Approach your “About me” and your profile in general as if you were a potential client looking for a professional in the languages and field(s) you work in.
  • Try not to copy and paste your CV into the “About me” section. Your profile has an area where you can upload CVs in various languages and formats, and a potential client who wants to see your CV will look there (you can also see how many times each CV has been opened). Rather, select some choice information that highlights your area(s) of specialization, qualifications, services– things that make you stand out as a professional. What makes you different from others in your field? Why should a client choose you for a project over your colleagues and competitors? Use your “About me” to make sure these things jump out at the visitor to your profile.
  • Avoid using phrases such as “never missed a deadline” or “professional and reliable”– serious clients take this as a given when contacting serious translators.
  • Keep the format of your “About me” simple but attractive. If you don’t know a little html, there’s a tutorial in the interface to edit your “About me”, and plenty of other guides online. Avoid overusing different fonts, font sizes, and colors, since this can make your presentation harder on the eyes.
  • Spend some time crafting your “About me”. It is part of your online business card, and a thoughtful and useful presentation is easy to detect. So are haphazard ones.
If you are a professional translator and do not have a website that represents you and your business, look into getting one. It’s worth mentioning that ProZ.com members have access to free web hosting and can set up their own website relatively quickly. A website that reflects what you have to offer professionally is another storefront for your online presence. If you have a ProZ.com profile, be sure you are treating it as you would treat a website that represents your business, because that is basically what it is, and it also has much greater potential for high visibility on the web.*

Has anyone found any good strategies that could be applied to crafting a great “About me”?

* ProZ.com currently ranks among the top 3,400 websites worldwide, according to Alexa. This means that pages on the site, profiles included, have a visibility on the web that is difficult to achieve with an individual website. Member profiles receive this exposure and resulting client traffic at a rate that is far greater than that of non-members. Compare this exposure to the cost of setting up and hosting an individual translator website, and factor in that web hosting is free for members, along with a range of other benefits (risk management, access to clients and job flow, networking, etc.).

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